LOCATION: Neshkoro, Wisconsin | CAPACITY: 14.8 kW | COMPLETION DATE: November 2021
The Neshkoro Fire District serves the Village of Neshkoro, the Town of Neshkoro, the Town of Crystal Lake (all in Marquette County), and a portion of the Town of Marion in Waushara County. They provide fire suppression, emergency first response, and SCUBA dive team support to this area along with mutual aid to neighboring areas.
For years, the Fire Board would review the department’s costs to date, and the electricity bill always jumped out as unusually high, ranging upwards to an average of $250 per month. After checking for energy wasting areas, they found it simply was expensive. They decided to explore ways to reduce that cost.
In 2020 an installer, Drews Solar from Madison, suggested contacting “Solar for Good” Initiative through Renew Wisconsin, (they did) and this led to Legacy Solar Co-op and feasibility studies, engineering, grants, and proposals.
Neshkoro Fire District settled on a 14.8 kW system with bifacial panels mounted on 4 arrays on posts, with the arrays being adjustable for seasonal variations in the arc of the Sun.
This adjustability not only increases the efficiency of the system, but has the added advantage of being able to clear snowfall easily due to the high angle of the panels facing the low angle of the winter Sun.
Steve Sheldon reports: “Our best estimate is that this is going to save us over $18,000 worth of electricity over the 6-year term of our agreement. The cost savings from these panels is going to pay for about half the cost of the installation, so between those savings and our payments we will, in 6 years, own a photovoltaic system for which we only paid half of the cost, and which will recoup the remainder of its cost in another 6 years.
The thing I would like to tell another organization is that not only is this investment going to save you money, but it is also going to future-proof your energy costs.”
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“Working with Legacy Solar has made it affordable for our Fire Protection District to invest in solar energy and in our community. Moving forward with this project is the confluence of Doing the Right Thing, Doing the Smart Thing, and Doing the Patriotic Thing.” ~ Steve Sheldon
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